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Thread: Questions about flowers and bees

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Questions about flowers and bees

    I was wondering about bees pollinating flowers. In order to be most efficient I thought they'd stick to one species of flower at a time... or do they go to many species of flowers at a time? If they stick to one (or two) species, how do they tell the difference? Colours / shape / "smell" ? I also don't understand how all the flowers have such visually pleasing shapes and colours, etc. I kind of believe in loosely guided evolution within a simulation.

    There seem to be hundreds of thousands of flowering plants - I think normally they'd need bees or some other animal... also I think fruits and maybe some vegetables are flowering plants.

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    Flowers and bees have coevolved, which means the behavior of one influences the other, and it is hard to distinguish which one is driving the evolutional changes. It is better to think of them evolving as a unit rather than one doing something to the other.

    Flowers bloom at different times of day, according to species. Bees are active all day, so will visit different species through the day, but for periods where a bunch of flowers of the same species are blooming at once, they are more likely to visit one right after visiting a different one of the same species, thus increasing the chances of successful pollination. (some flowers bloom at night, but are pollinated by different animals, like moths or bats)

    Bees can see in the ultraviolet spectrum, and many flowers have vivid markings that are invisible to humans. Likely, the bees go for things that attract them visually, and then learn to associate the sense of smell and food with the image. Again, given that bees and flowers evolved together, the thing about flowers that made them attractive to bees, and the thing within bees that attracted them to flowers both evolved simultaneously.

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    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    There are some plants which are pollinated with the aid of a particular insect and this insect is attracted to only this plant. This means that the loss of either insect or flower, for whatever reason, both insect and plant go extinct. Evolution likes to fill niches, but it's just as fast to destroy one.

    Bees, particularly honeybees, are very successful mainly because they are able to exploit a wide range plants. This allows them to produce a surplus of food, which humans find tasty. This surplus has increased over the past several thousand years because of shrewd insect husbandry on the part of humans.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    I've watched lots of pollinators in my yard. Pollination happens in lots of different ways. Asimina Triloba doesn't use bees, rather it gives off a slight smell of rotting flesh which attracts flies and beetles as pollinators. Additionally each tree produces both male and female organs but is self infertile, so it needs another tree to produce fruit.

    The Morning Primrose are the favorite of large Carpenter Bees. They do not pollinate the flower but crawl down the outside of the flower tube and pierce it at the base to get nectar.

    The blueberry seem the sole domain of bumblebees.

    The early bloomers are the domain of native pollinators like mason bees who are dormant after eight weeks so if the orchard depended on mason bees it would all have to have bloomed very early, which it doesn't. So at some time and place early blooming and mason bees were selected for.

    The Orient Pear needs certain trees with which to cross pollinate or it does not bear fruit. There is a tropical orchid which is only pollinated by a particular moth with an adequately long snout which it unwinds to get nectar. Most of the native pollinators are dead in China so they hand pollinate their fruit trees. I could go on.

    Pollination is not something directed, rather something evolved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    I was wondering about bees pollinating flowers. In order to be most efficient I thought they'd stick to one species of flower at a time... or do they go to many species of flowers at a time? If they stick to one (or two) species, how do they tell the difference? Colours / shape / "smell" ? I also don't understand how all the flowers have such visually pleasing shapes and colours, etc. I kind of believe in loosely guided evolution within a simulation.

    There seem to be hundreds of thousands of flowering plants - I think normally they'd need bees or some other animal... also I think fruits and maybe some vegetables are flowering plants.
    Color.

    Ever hear the story of the puddle? Regarding how "pleasing" flowers are to you...
    One day, a puddle that filled a pothole in the middle of a street was thinking to itself, "what a perfect little world I live in... It must have been made just for me... This pothole I live in is the perfect shape for me, as it fits every nook and cranny of my puddle-body. Oblivious to the rest of the universe all around mr. puddle, it couldn't imagine how anything at all that could possibly be more blessed than it... as the sun rose and evaporated mr. puddle away into oblivion.

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    There is no efficiency optimization to evolution.

    Random events like being in the right place at the right time combined with beneficial mutation passed on because inheritors have an advantage. That is all there is too it from a general view. Evolution.

    Us humans are far from optimized except perhaps the adaptability afforded by our brains.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    ......Ever hear the story of the puddle? Regarding how "pleasing" flowers are to you...
    One day, a puddle that filled a pothole in the middle of a street was thinking to itself, "what a perfect little world I live in... It must have been made just for me... This pothole I live in is the perfect shape for me, as it fits every nook and cranny of my puddle-body. Oblivious to the rest of the universe all around mr. puddle, it couldn't imagine how anything at all that could possibly be more blessed than it... as the sun rose and evaporated mr. puddle away into oblivion.
    That seems to be talking about the "anthropic principle" - how the environment is "fine-tuned" for us.

    As far as why flowers are pleasing to our eyes, maybe it is due to them having patterns and "styles" - like the fibonacci sequence which is related to the golden ratio. Often they are colour-coordinated.... maybe just due to chance and partly from being appealing to bees, etc.

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    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    There is no efficiency optimization to evolution.

    Random events like being in the right place at the right time combined with beneficial mutation passed on because inheritors have an advantage. That is all there is too it from a general view. Evolution.

    Us humans are far from optimized except perhaps the adaptability afforded by our brains.
    Evolution via Natural Selection is really random opportunism. Flowers, humans, woolly mammoths, none of these things are in any sense ideal, despite religious inclinations. Religion itself is an opportunistic process requiring resources and events for its favor. People like to believe in something that is only a myth, namely perfection. Believing so must have survival value or it wouldn't be around. Religious salesmen are just selling you their perfection myth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    ......Ever hear the story of the puddle? Regarding how "pleasing" flowers are to you...
    One day, a puddle that filled a pothole in the middle of a street was thinking to itself, "what a perfect little world I live in... It must have been made just for me... This pothole I live in is the perfect shape for me, as it fits every nook and cranny of my puddle-body. Oblivious to the rest of the universe all around mr. puddle, it couldn't imagine how anything at all that could possibly be more blessed than it... as the sun rose and evaporated mr. puddle away into oblivion.
    That seems to be talking about the "anthropic principle" - how the environment is "fine-tuned" for us.

    As far as why flowers are pleasing to our eyes, maybe it is due to them having patterns and "styles" - like the fibonacci sequence which is related to the golden ratio. Often they are colour-coordinated.... maybe just due to chance and partly from being appealing to bees, etc.
    Ya, that is what I guess too.. The golden ratio is not just for "birds and bees".. but for many many biological systems... I'm guessing it is like the game GO.. or Chess... Simple rules leading to complex patterns. "It's pretty because its put together like I am". It it weren't.. we'd be racist about it, hehe.

    and since this is in the Religion versus Science section... I guess the answer we are agreeing to then is "Science".
    Last edited by Gun Nut; 10-11-2019 at 07:57 PM.

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    Junior Member Poppa Popobawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    ......Ever hear the story of the puddle? Regarding how "pleasing" flowers are to you...
    One day, a puddle that filled a pothole in the middle of a street was thinking to itself, "what a perfect little world I live in... It must have been made just for me... This pothole I live in is the perfect shape for me, as it fits every nook and cranny of my puddle-body. Oblivious to the rest of the universe all around mr. puddle, it couldn't imagine how anything at all that could possibly be more blessed than it... as the sun rose and evaporated mr. puddle away into oblivion.
    That seems to be talking about the "anthropic principle" - how the environment is "fine-tuned" for us.

    As far as why flowers are pleasing to our eyes, maybe it is due to them having patterns and "styles" - like the fibonacci sequence which is related to the golden ratio. Often they are colour-coordinated.... maybe just due to chance and partly from being appealing to bees, etc.
    It may not be possible to truly know the answer to this. However, it seems to me that through evolution, the human brain will find some things to be attractive, some not. Why, for example do we find certain people physically attractive? It's partly cultural, but also, it is in our genes, that as a general, (though not hard and fast), rule to find someone of the opposite sex as attractive, and to be driven to mate with them. In that way, the genes responsible for that sexual attraction will be passed on to the new generation of people. The attraction promotes the generation. In animals, the sexual attraction and drive can be much more stylised/generic that it is in humans. In other words, animals may follow their genetic programming much more than humans, who are intelligent, have higher thinking brains that many animals, and pass on cultural attitudes, which can override evolutionarily inherited traits and tendencies.

    The fact that we find flowers to be attractive, may be due to the association in our brains, between flowering plants, and sources of food. Food plants generally produce seeds, and it's the plants' way of passing on their genes to future generations of plants. Seeds come from pollination, thus plants need some way to get pollinated. Humans will recognise flowers as not only pretty, but also an essential element in our omnivorous/agricultural food chain. It may be ingrained by evolution, or by cultural inheritance, or both.
    Here is the tragedy of theology, in its distilled essence:
    The employment of high-powered human intellect,
    of genius, of profoundly rigorous logical deduction —
    studying nothing.
    { Andrew Bernstein }

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